by Cami Tapley
Gibraltar: A Novel © 2005
Raised by her nurturing father and grandfather, eighteen-year-old Clary has never known the kind of resistance that brings out the best and the worst in people. As the son of a hard-hearted businessman and his unhappy socialite wife, Jem has never known anything else. Besides the connection to a cottage on the St. Clair River, the only thing Clary and Jem have in common is an unusual last name, until the revelation of a family secret begins to change the course of their lives.
McKenna © 2012
Abandoned by his father as a child, and losing his mother to a drunk driving accident as a young man, Paul Jessup has overcome his own alcohol addiction through the help of his faith, and a wise and caring mentor, Father Carlos. After Paul meets a young woman named McKenna Franks, she and her close-knit family open the eyes of Paul’s lonely heart to see potential he’s never dared to accept for himself before. When an important opportunity leads him away, will he keep the door of his heart open, or will he succumb to a familiar voice from his past instead—Whenever something is gone, it’s gone; when it’s passed, it’s past; when it’s out of your reach, you’ll never reach it.
McKenna coincides with the events and characters of Gibraltar: A Novel, and provides Paul’s back story in Orlando, Florida; beginning at the same time that Jem arrives at Gibraltar.
Brannon: Course of Dreams © 2014
As Jem and Clary make a decision about their future, Paul is lost in indecision over his own. Clary struggles to maintain her relationship with Paul, while fearing that the reappearance of Jem’s uncle in Brannon will threaten any chance her father might have with Jayne. Through confusion and sorrow, joy and realization, the love of family proves faithful, as the Borderlines face big changes together in this third installment of the Gibraltar series.
Q: Where did the inspiration for the Gibraltar Series come from?
A: Having mainly written inspirational messages, it wasn’t until I read Great Expectations at the close of 2003 that I became inspired to write fiction. Suddenly, I wanted to try my hand at what Charles Dickens did; expose the motives of the human heart through skillful storytelling. I’m no Dickens—but he did choose some pretty screwy-sounding character names, too; the word “borderline” popped into my head as a surname when I began to mull over possibilities for my own story. When I searched the web, I found what I suspected; no one on earth carries “borderline” as a last name, and I thought it would be fun to use as a jumping-off point.
Q: What inspired the setting for the Gibraltar Series?
A: It’s been many years ago now that I was drawn to an edition of the National Geographic featuring the St. Lawrence Seaway as its cover story. Fascinated, I read the entire article in one sitting, and it was practically book-length. I had no idea then that my family and I would eventually move to a spot on this beautiful waterway. Being a west coaster most of my life, the change of scenery and pace affected me deeply. After this, I wanted to write about a more “homegrown” feel of life. The fictional town of Brannon, Michigan is set on a river, which might portray any of the townships where we now live in St. Clair County, although the adjacent lake area greatly contributes to the mood and setting of “Gibraltar,” the cottage.
Q: What message do you hope this series will relay?
A: Any of us that write should encourage the reader to consider the weight of an individual human life. It’s why we read—we’re fascinated by the lives of other human beings; the profound fact of their existence, and how they respond to their circumstances.
A lesser desire of mine, but a desire nonetheless, is to encourage people to read the works of classic writers. The classics became classics for good reason. It’s my feeling that no generation should miss out on the stories that have passed the most rigid of all tests: the test of time.
Lastly, and most importantly, I personally believe that making a difference where I live is the only place it really weighs in. And it’s the message of the Gibraltar Series. I think a sentiment I wrote for Clary’s father to share says it best: Our limitations aren’t the thieves we make them out to be; they help define our direction.
Reviews for Gibraltar: A Novel, first book in series
The tale is told through Clary Borderline, the young woman whose life is profoundly affected by an unexpected visitor. She is rich in character and insight, but she relates her observations and conversations in a down-to-earth style that refreshingly conveys her humanity and that of those around her. A rare gem among modern novels, Gibraltar not only captivates its readers, but also cultivates a curiosity and affection for the quietly exuberant existence of its central characters, in this continuing saga of the humble and fascinating Borderline family. -Marla Swoffer, writer
I love great books with great stories. Cami’s book is one of my new favorites.” -Lisa Hendey, author & speaker
“With strong theme of the power of love and its ability to redeem and heal being at the heart of Clary’s story, Tapley has created a beautiful gem. This subtle yet compelling novel pulls the reader into a special time and place with such memorable and realistic characters you will wish you could visit Gibraltar to visit these delightful people.” -Pamela Marrache, reviewer
“Gibraltar is beautifully written, with characters so real, you can almost hear them breathing.” -Francine Biere, author